Peter Singer & Vegetarian Dogs (was Re: The Heiress and theAnarchist)

Gordon Fitch gcf at
Tue Mar 7 06:39:50 PST 2000

Gordon Fitch wrote:
> >The canard about the Nazis being vegetarians and believers
> >in animal rights was offered in a newsgroup a few months ago
> >and thoroughly demolished, especially after the offerer
> >failed to provide any evidence.

Doug Henwood:
> Well, given Alex Cockburn's rigorous fact-checking standards, I can't
> believe he'd just go off and say something without evidence!

There's evidence and then there's evidence. No doubt one can turn up a few Nazis who believed in vegetarianism; this does not make vegetarianism a Nazi program. I'm surprised I have to say that.

> Robert Proctor has a chapter in his fascinating book Racial Hygiene:
> Medicine Under the Nazis about the German obsession with natural
> foods and such during the 1920s. The rhetoric around how modern
> industrial techniques spoil the purity of food sounds uncannily
> familiar - and the links to the neo-primitivism familiar to any
> reader of Adorno are pretty interesting. That's not to say that an
> obsession with organic food leads straight to the death camps, but
> there is something about concerns with purity, closeness to nature,
> authenticity, organicity, and strength that should provoke some
> serious scrutiny.

Okay, where is the "serious scrutiny"? I posted three or four rational, polite articles defending "animal rights" politics from what I thought were unjustified attacks, and at the end waxed a bit poetic about the sad state of affairs of many of our little furry brethren, after which someone mentioned Sue Coe's book, after which someone posted an article saying, in effect, "Well, the Nazis believed in all that stuff, so...." If you all are trying to say that my beliefs or someone else's are akin to Nazi ideology, I think you need to do better than crack jokes about Gary Null. (I don't like Gary Null either, so you see what sort of company you've fallen into.) I think a rational attempt to show that vegetarianism, "animal rights" politics, or environmentalism are in some significant way tied to Naziism would be a very interesting intellectual exercise, but painting swastikas on Gandhi and Judi Bari will take more than digging up a few crank Uebermenschen from seventy years ago.

On the other hand, if one is not going to be produced, then some explanation for mentioning the association in the particular context might be in order. Even given that organic food is a Nazi scheme, I didn't say anything about it.


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